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Romanoff turns 2010 Hickenlooper ad decrying attack ads into attack ad, Polis weighs in

A new attack ad by Democratic Senate candidate Andrew Romanoff points to John Hickenlooper's recent ethics violations.
Credit: 9NEWS File Photo
Andrew Romanoff, left, and John Hickenlooper, right, will debate on 9NEWS ahead of the Democratic senate primary in Colorado.

DENVER — Former Colorado Speaker of the House Andrew Romanoff has turned one of Former Governor John Hickenlooper’s 2010 campaign ads against attack ads into an attack ad, and now the current governor is weighing in.

Romanoff is challenging Hickenlooper in the Colorado Senate Democratic primary. The winner will take on Republican Cory Gardner during the November general election. He is often considered one of the most vulnerable incumbents up for reelection.

RELATED: Truth Test: Gardner ad goes after Hickenlooper during Democratic primary

RELATED: WATCH AGAIN: Senate candidates Hickenlooper, Romanoff debate police reform, COVID-19 ahead of Democratic primary

Romanoff’s ad is a reedit of a Hickenlooper spot that aired while he was first running for governor. In Hickenlooper’s original ad, he says “I guess I’m not a very good politician, because every time I see one, I feel like I need to take a shower” as he’s seen getting into a shower fully clothed multiple times.

“Pitting one group against another or one part of Colorado against another doesn’t help another,” Hickenlooper later says.

Romanoff’s reedit of the ad says “you better ask yourself: why does John Hickenlooper take so many showers?”

Dirty water is seen flowing through the drain, as the voiceover says “he’ll never wash off the stain of oil and gas money. Maybe it’s the convictions for taking illegal gifts, or being held in contempt.”

The voiceover simply says "whoa" while showing a headline saying Hickenlooper apologized for comments that compared elected officials to galley slaves. 

“Scrub harder Hick,” the voiceover says, adding, “we can’t take this kind of risk if we’re going to beat Cory Gardner.”

Romanoff ran against current Senator Michael Bennet in the 2010 Democratic primary and lost the race a few days after airing an attack ad that was later revealed by a 9NEWS truth test to have false claims.

The latest ad is not factually inaccurate. The Independent Ethics Commission fined Hickenlooper for accepting illegal gifts, and he was found in contempt for failing to appear when he was subpoenaed to testify.

During the 9NEWS Senate debate, this slew of events prompted Romanoff to ask Hickenlooper to withdraw from the case. 

RELATED: Hickenlooper offers 'deepest apologies' for remarks comparing elected officials to galley slaves

RELATED: Ethics commission fines Hickenlooper $2,750 for ethics violations, Colorado taxpayers pay $127,000 in attorney fees

RELATED: Commission finds Hickenlooper in contempt after defying subpoena to appear at ethics hearing

Colorado Governor Jared Polis, a fellow Democrat, issued a statement about the latest ad on Friday, writing:

“Winning the U.S. Senate seat in Colorado is essential to achieving a Democratic majority and moving our nation forward. I’m disappointed that Andrew Romanoff has chosen to throw mud and attack John Hickenlooper instead of focusing on his own vision and record.

“There is much more that unites Democrats than divides us, and both John and Andrew have done a lot for Colorado. I hope that Andrew reconsiders this counterproductive attack ad so that we can put Democrats in the best position to win in November.”

Polis has not endorsed a candidate in the senate race. 

Tara Trujillo, the campaign spokeswoman for the Romanoff campaign issued this statement in response to Polis’ comment:

"Why would we hand Cory Gardner an advantage by nominating a candidate who defied a subpoena, got held in contempt and broke the law? The best way to beat Gardner—and bring a fresh, progressive voice to the Senate—is to make Andrew Romanoff the Democratic nominee."

Check out the Twitter thread below from 9NEWS Political Reporter Marshall Zelinger for a closer look at the Democratic establishment's reaction to Romanoff's ad: 

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